Bloodlines & Clans
Thirteen clans claim descent from Caine and his children. Rome's glittering promise and depraved splendour lures them all, though certain bloodlines sank deep roots into Italic soil long ago and others come upon the evening tide to seek their fortune.
Clans Ventrue, Lasombra, and Malkavian form an uneasy triumvirate of power and influence, unrivaled by newcomers to the Eternal City. Elders entrenched in important mortal and Cainite quarters wield their influence jealously, but the game of alliances and political intrigues excludes no one who might advance a cause. Roman society is full of endless backbiting and social ambitions that do not exclude the Kindred.
The Known Clans of Rome
- Brujah: The clan looks contemptuously upon Rome as a Lasombra and Ventrue experiment which supplanted their own dream of the Third City: Carthage. Elders remember all too clearly the Ventrue-led opposition that put Carthaginian Brujah to the flame and the sword, and Lasombra rituals that bound their Ancient beneath the salted earth. Memories of the Punic glory that was Carthage burn hotly in their breasts. Rome stokes their ire as much as their passionate curiosity, for they cannot deny the appeal or the possibilities in the Eternal City. Neonates are eager take a place at the centre of the Kindred world, though fear the displeasure of their Elders. They can expect a chilly reception among the statesmen of the Eternal Senate, and suspicion from all quarters. No Kindred is quite certain who supported Moloch, and the black stain taints the clan by association.
- Interests: Foreigners, games, gangs
- Locations: Arenas, Circus Maximus, plebeian games
- Lasombra: These master manipulators congregate to the halls of power, insinuating themselves among the temples and cults of Rome. They wield faith as sword and goad to unleash their far-reaching, shadowy agenda. They resent the iron fist of their great rivals, the Ventrue, and work diligently to align the other clans beneath their diverse banner. When Pompey the Great crushed piracy in the eastern Mediterranean 150 years ago, the clan shifted its focus from marauding by sea to merchant maritime traffic on the same routes they preyed upon. The clan's coffers swelled with coin from legitimate and shady trade, and as any Keeper knows, money in Rome can equal power, too.
- Interests: Cults, maritime trade, religion
- Locations: Palatine Hill, Ostia, Via Sacra
- Malkavian: In no time or place will the blood of Malkav command such respect or importance as in Rome. A string of mad seers delivered timely prophesies to receptive ears, and cemented a reputation for uncanny foresight. Politically astute and motivated Malkavians parlay their abilities as diviners for the welfare of Kindred and Eternal Senate alike, and exact favours and debts for the privilege. It's said all debts pass through a Malkavian's hands sooner or later, which may be reason why the Ventrue and Lasombra treat them with fragile respect. But not all are authentic or dazzled by power; those without mystic slant find themselves perfectly happy to manipulate ceremonies and religious institutions to their own ends. The Mad meddle in the city's affairs without restraint or reason, at times, throwing knots into the pattern simply to see the results.
- Interests: Favours, Religion
- Locations: Via Sacra, Temples
- Nosferatu: The duality of a Nosferatu's existence is a metaphor for Rome itself. They have endless opportunity while denied the one thing they truly want. Rome's extensive catacombs and sewers give the clan a haven like no other. They dwell beneath a city of marble and brick, supping on its excess and ferreting out its secrets. Some Neonates are said never to come to the surface, while others survive in the cut-throat stews of the Subura where even popular senators fear to go. As premiere information brokers of the Eternal Senate, the Nosferatu cultivate extensive networks among the destitute mob, using gangs and criminals to enforce the will of other clans who would never get their fingers dirty. But the Nosferatu covet political legitimacy and acceptance, and find their social ascent blocked as much by revulsion as vicious factional loyalties among the ruling Triumvirate.
- Interests: Crime, information, slavery, slum-dwellers
- Locations: Aqueducts, catacombs, the Subura
- Toreador: Known as the Tauromachoi for much of the past 500 years, the clan of the Rose has strong roots in the grace and culture of Hellenistic civilization. The clan produces great patrons of the arts with incomparable resources, fanatical in their eternal pursuit of beauty. Long before Carthage and Rome came to blows, Elders patronized sculptors, writers, and architects who set a standard Roman builders and poets reference today. The golden age faded as Rome rose: Athens has fallen to obscurity, Alexandria to despair and decadence. Toreador lament past losses while eagerly embracing the influx of new ideas and peoples from across a vast empire. Neonates put great stock in cultivating thinkers and artists alike, and their insistence on following the internal creed to remain as human in appearance as possible reaps great boons. No clan equals their humanistic focus or ability to mingle within the kine masses almost undetected.
- Interests: Arts, information, theatre
- Locations: Theatre of Macellus
- Ventrue: Clan Ventrue lays claim to the power, tradition, and leadership in Kindred society. Gravitating towards positions of leadership and prestige, its members are eager to be involved in Camillus' vision to build a hidden vampire society. Development of hierarchy, structure, and authority courses through their very blood, and the Ventrue cannot help but implement their desire for power and order of all varying kinds. The clan's framework provides the support the Eternal Senate is built upon. Often thought of as stiff and unchanging, Ventrue seek to preserve tradition and the nobility of lost days -- be those the Republic or the Second City in aeons past. Neonates try to engage the mortal herd from afar, monitoring matters through ghouls and indebted informants, whereas their elders manipulate the Plebeian Tribunal to achieve greater ends without dirtying their hands with mortal pawns.
- Interests: Architecture, government, humanity
- Locations: The Roman Forum
The Outside Clans
- Cappadocian: The clan devoted to investigating the mysteries of death, Cappadocian scholars rarely leave their isolated Anatolian havens. Wise Kindred respect their solemn advice; others fear the outsiders. A tiny party of envoys presented themselves to the Eternal Senate, and their motives remain a source of considerable speculation among Roman Kindred.
- Followers of Set: The members of this Egyptian clan peddle vice and exploit weakness with unabashed glee. Setites embody all mortal and Roman vampires alike disdain about the east: its hedonism, its excess, and its opaque mysteries. Egypt's absorption into a mere imperial province stung the clan's pride, and they are beginning to fight back against the loss of their unchallenged domination of the desert kingdom. Few, however, dare follow the Egyptian diaspora to Rome, preferring to remain on their home soil.
- Gangrel: Bestial and highly attuned to the natural world, the Gangrel prefer to reside in the untamed wilderness far from Rome's city walls. They care little for politics or the mob, although the more curious observe the Eternal Senate as an artificial attempt to recreate the structure of a wolf pack on a grand scale. The Peregrini Tribunal maintains links with Gangrel scouts embedded in distant Britannia and the Germanic frontier.
- Lamia: Members of this small bloodline diverging from the Cappadocian clan are next to unknown in the Eternal City, except in the bodyguards brought from the east. Roman vampires pay Lamia respect for their martial focus and devotion, but eye these servants with even greater concern than their masters. Any PC must be affiliated with an active Cappadocian PC.
- Ravnos: Blown upon the monsoon winds, the Ravnos act as messengers and envoys between the courts of Cainite lords. They are little trusted for a flawed weakness said to make them susceptible to untold sins, and the Eternal City is unmatched for variety and breadth of vices to fall prey to.
- Salubri: The smallest of clans holds an untrustworthy reputation founded upon the duality of its castes. These vampires include peacemakers and healers, seeking insight into the tormented condition of vampirism, and relentless warriors dedicated to eradicating the demons their founder purportedly unleashed.
Not every clan or bloodline exists in the nights of Antiquity, and others remain almost unknown to the Eternal City. A restricted option will be pre-screened on a case by case basis by the Storytelling staff.
- Assamite: The Bene Haqim dare not approach Rome on pain of absolute death. Clans Lasombra and Toreador declared the clan anathema for their participation in enslaving Carthaginian vampires and committing Amaranth against any resisters. Alamut's agents give Italia a wide berth and fear the legions moving through Asia Minor bring dread enemies to its doorstep to take revenge after two centuries.
- Baali: The Tyrrhenian Alliance sealed a Baali Methuselah and his followers under the ruins of Carthage, a testament to the hatred and fear surrounding this bloodline. Devoted to worship of infernal entities and demons, the Baali have powers and agendas feared by the thirteen clans. They are masterful corrupters of mortals and vampires alike. Fanatically loyal servants pursue their dread activities well out of sight, for mere hint of their presence incites whole clans to descend to purge them out.
- Children of Osiris: This bloodline does not exist in our setting.
- True Brujah: During the rise of Carthage, Brujah remained loyal to their Antediluvian and refused to heed the Methuselah Troile's call for rebellion. Troile and her followers branded their clanmates traitors and unleashed the lex talionis (the Blood Hunt). If any True Brujah survived the bloodbath of four centuries, they remain well-hidden still.
- Tzimisce: These stern, little understood kolduns rule uncontested over the haunted marches where Roman legions dare not go. Theirs is a land steeped in wild paganism and dread myth, fueled by the flagrant inhumanity of the clan's iron-fisted grip.
- Non-Existent: Ahrimanes, Anda, Blood Brothers, Daughters of Cacophony, Gargoyles, Giovanni, Harbingers, Kiasyd, Nagaraja, Samedi, Tremere
The Ancients bestowed a blessing and curse upon all their descendants, and so the clans and bloodlines can be distinguished from one another in the Nights of Antiquity. These rules may diverge from V20.
- Brujah: The difficulties of rolls to resist or guide frenzy are two higher than normal. Additionally, a Brujah may never spend Willpower to avoid frenzy. However, they may spend a point of Willpower to end a frenzy that has already begun.
- Cappadocians: All Cappadocians appear ashy and corpselike. This grim visage presents the Cappadocian with a +2 difficulty on any Social rolls that would be hindered by a corpselike appearance. Additionally, they cannot use Blush of Life.
- Gangrel: During a frenzy, a Gangrel develops a small physical or mental animal trait, such as patches of fur, extreme territoriality or an hour of torpor after feeding. This trait gives a +1 difficulty penalty and one automatic failure on a relevant dice pool. The trait and the penalty remain until the player accepts the automatic failure.
- Lasombra: A Lasombra cannot be seen in any sort of reflective surface, which makes it difficult to conceal their supernatural nature from mortals. They cannot abide the presence of bright light; they take an additional level of aggravated damage from any exposure to sunlight.
- Malkavians: At character creation, choose one derangement. A Malkavian may only use Willpower to ignore it for a turn at a time. Even powerful Disciplines or Gifts only push it aside for a night. After such an effort, however, the derangement comes back in full force. For a week thereafter, the Malkavian cannot use Willpower to resist their derangement at all.
- Nosferatu: A Nosferatu starts with zero dots in Appearance and this score can never rise. Something indescribably monstrous or disturbingly wrong about a Nosferatu causes them to fail any first impression roll and experience +1 difficulty to all Social rolls except Intimidate.
- Ravnos: At character creation, choose one vice (such as lying, stealing, drinking from drugged victims or drinking to gluttony). When presented with the opportunity to indulge their vice, roll Self-Control or Instinct (DC 6). Failure indicates the Ravnos succumbs to temptation.
- Salubri: A Salubri loses a point of Willpower when they feed on an unwilling vessel.
- Setites: A Follower of Set takes twice the amount of aggravated damage from any exposure to sunlight than members of other clans.
- Toreador: When encountering beauty, a Toreador rolls Self-Control or Instinct (DC 5). Failure indicates they daydream in a state of rapture and awe until the scene ends or the object departs. This rush of pleasure can be addictive.
- Tzimisce: A Tzimisce who does not rest with at least two handfuls of native soil (soil from a place of importance to them, usually their home or their grave) will arise the next night impaired. Halve all dice pools for each day of such rest (rounded down), cumulatively, until the pool reaches one die. A full day of proper rest will restore the dice pools to their normal value.
- Ventrue: At character creation, select one particular type of mortal (merchants, Egyptians, red-haired men, gladiators). A Ventrue can only feed from this type of prey. They can consume mortal blood outside of this selected preference, but it does not forestall the Beast or provide nourishment.